Roundabout coming at last for Woods Rd-Murray Valley Hwy intersection

By Jared Loughnan

It’s been a long time in the planning, but Regional Roads Victoria has finally confirmed construction of roundabout on the dangerous Woods Road and Murray Valley Highway (Telford Street) intersection will commence in the coming months with a completion date at the end of this year. 

Residents have been waiting patiently for the intersection upgrade since way back In March 2017 when VicRoads and Federal Member for Murray (now Nicholls) Damian Drum confirmed a roundabout would be built at the location as part of $20 million to be spent on safety improvements on a 130km stretch of the Murray Valley Highway between Echuca and Yarrawonga.

Regional Director (North East), Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) Steve Bowmaker told the Chronicle last week contracts are being finalised for the delivery of this major safety improvement at the intersection.

“We’re working towards an end of year finish date and we’ll be out to the community as soon as possible with further details about timelines and the works process.

“The new roundabout will provide safer turning opportunities, improve heavy vehicle access and improve pedestrian safety,” Mr Bowmaker said.

RRV has undertaken preliminary works including service relocations to ensure there are no further delays when the contract is awarded.

The new roundabout will improve safety and relieve pressure on one of Yarrawonga’s busiest intersections – providing safer turning opportunities and better catering for heavy vehicles. The roundabout will improve safety for pedestrians including the elderly and school children, with designated crossing points on approach and splitter islands providing refuge in between both traffic lanes.

An accident earlier this year at the dangerous intersection sparked concern of when the promised roundabout will be constructed. The two-vehicle collision on February 26 raised further frustration by local residents who vented their concerns on social media. Many residents said they avoid the hazardous intersection where possible adding congestion on other residential streets. 

The construction tender for this project was first advertised in November 2019, however no tenders were received which met the requirements of the project. RRV went to market a second time around and expects to award the contract in coming weeks.

Moira Shire General Manager Infrastructure Andrew Close earlier this year said council has been working with RRV to ensure traffic is not disrupted overly during construction and that pedestrian access is supplied.

“Council has discussed our preferred options for detour routes on our local streets with Regional Roads Victoria as Woods Road is likely to be closed off for access from the highway while works are underway,” Mr Close said.

“It is expected RRV will close off one side of Woods Road at a time and local traffic wanting access to Woods Road will follow the detour routes via local streets.

“Council is expecting RRV to coordinate the public notification of the detour routes closer to the start of construction.

“Council will ensure footpath and pedestrian access is provided in the design so people will have access across the intersection to the local schools, aged care centre and medical centre after construction.

“We are also working with RRV to ensure the drainage works match up with our existing drainage infrastructure.”
Local member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy has conveyed his disappointment in the project still not in construction staging in November last year, saying the wait is unreasonable.

“It is now over three years since funding was confirmed by the Labor Government to build a roundabout at the dangerous Murray Valley Highway and Woods Road intersection,” Mr McCurdy said.   

 “It is totally unreasonable for this community to have to wait all this time for action.”